Anthony Bourdain came to Hawaii. He saw. He conquered. And in the end, he loved every minute of his time in the Hawaiian Islands! YES!

So why were all of the locals (including yours truly) holding our collective breath as the Hawaii episode of No Reservations aired on the Travel Channel last night? Well, because it’s Bourdain we’re talking about here. No one could have guessed whether a dash of Spam Musubi and good ‘ol dousing of Aloha Spirit would be enough to win the heart of this “tell it like it is” chef. But it did, as well as many other experiences the bad boy chef had while he was in Hawaii.

A $3,000 aloha shirt from Bailey’s, out of this world Puka Dog in Waikiki, delicious grinds at Ono Hawaiian Food, hanging out with the island’s top chefs at Side Street Inn, a visit to the famous North Shore of Oahu, all the SPAM he could eat at New Uptown Fountain, a typical local backyard BBQ, exploration into tiki drinks at La Mariana, and visit to volcano on Hawaii Island was the perfect recipe to prove to Bourdain that Hawaii is much more than sun, sand, and surf. Surprisingly, he even managed to enjoy himself at the Paradise Cove Luau.

The show was a fantastic showcase and representation of the way Hawaii people live and eat in its truest sense. Bourdain dove right in to the local lifestyle enjoyed here in the islands and opened his mind and heart to everything the encountered. The result was a new appreciation for a place he doubted before, but grew to love in one short week. Funny how Hawaii does that to people sometimes.

To all involved in this endeavor to welcome Bourdain to Hawaii…much mahalo! Mr. Bourdain, we enjoyed your presence here in the 50th state, are totally stoked you enjoyed what you saw/ate, and hope you come back to visit again soon!

For the low down and further insights into the production, be sure to visit my colleague Michael Ni’s blog.


[Photo courtesy of Travel Channel]

  1. […] of Waikiki, I managed to scarf down a delicious Puka Dog (pictured) in the very same place that Anthony Bourdain did in the Hawaii episode of No […]

  2. Ryan says:

    Huh! I had no idea Puka Dog had spread to Waikiki. So was that the Waikiki location? I saw “Kauai” on the sign by the door as he walked in and just figured he’d gone to the Garden Isle.

  3. golfnutn8 says:

    Hi Ryan,

    There is a Puka Dog restaurant on Kauai, but also one in Waikiki. Agree with you about his comment about the Hawaiian variant on the hot dog…it’s one of those improper uses of the word Hawaiian…more like Hawaii’s take on this evil sausage.

    It was definitely a more relaxed Bourdain who visited Hawaii this time around. We were holding our breath as he introduced the luau segment…we honestly thought he was going to tear it to shreds…which he did in some ways…but definitely had a more gentile side going that night…or should I say during his voiceover session in the studio.

    I too was very satisfied with the show. It was a departure from the “run of the mill” expeditions many other TV shows to Hawaii continue to cover. It was about as real a look into our lifestyle here in the islands as I imagined and was a proud moment for Hawaii.


  4. Ryan says:

    Wasn’t the Puka Dog on Kauai? Though they did made it look like he walked in right off Kalakaua Ave. It bothered me that he declared it the Hawaiian variant of the hot dog, when the Puka Dog restaurant – while cute – is about as Hawaiian as pineapple on a pizza.

    I liked the episode, overall.

    It was interesting that he talked about his instinct to rip the Paradise Cove luau to shreds, but didn’t follow through. Definitely a kinder, gentler Bourdain, which is in some ways a pity, because I think he’s had some insightful things to say in the past about indigenous cultures being turned into theme park attractions.

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